August 2010 - PLAY & LEARN
Taking advantage of our local community and what it has to offer has become my latest obsession. I have been abusing my library card lately checking out free passes to various museums via their Museum Adventure Pass. These passes are valid for a week and offer free admission to area museums. All you have to do is present your library card and check it out. But just like a book, it may be already checked out by someone else and you may have to wait for it to become available.
My neighbor, Heidi Rios, has been telling me to checkout Cantigny Park. I have decided I need to listen to her more often. What a fantastic adventure. Three moms embarked on a journey to Cantigny Park with 16 children ranging in age from 7 months old to 13 years old. That might sound daunting to some but this park offered something for all too truly enjoy. The general grounds are ‘arboretum like’ as there are beautiful gardens, reflection ponds, and beautiful paths. Along one pathway toward the First Division Museum is the Tank Park, offering many army tanks. This element alone offered tons of enjoyment for the children as they climbed and explored and entered an imaginary world of their own.
The First Division Museum seems almost impossible to put into words. I would love to be able to put my online album of photos in place of these words to fully express how awesome it was. It felt as if you were entering another world as the museum offers a 3D, interactive, hands on approach to sharing the history of our country at war. There are jungles to walk through with soldiers camouflaged in the trees, moving walls, a telecommunications room, so many buttons to press and things to see. The kids were even inspired to walk through a real mansion as they visited the McCormick Museum and were able to see a secret room behind a wall. We ended our day with a picnic lunch at the playground near the parking lot.
Cantigny Park is located at 1S151 Winfield Rd, Wheaton, IL 60189. Phone 630-668-5161. Website is www.CantignyPark.org. Museums are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10am-5pm in the summer. The gardens are open 7am-Sunset. Admission is $5/car or free with an Adventure Pass. – Kristen Kucharski